Jig Monkey in the Northwest
James Brian Wilson loves instrumental music. While he was growing up, his father Jim from County Mayo, Ireland, would sometimes sit in the living room armchair playing accordion or harmonica. His mother Patricia, from Dublin, would break into songs from Irish to opera. His playing leans heavily on traditional Celtic tunes from Ireland and Scotland, but his originals have the flavors of classical, flamenco, renaissance, baroque, and new age. Like many who grew up in the 1960's and 1970's, James enjoyed the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Doors, Yes, Led Zeppelin, and others at a time when the guitar was king. Then he connected with bands like Horslips, Steeleye Span, Five Hand Reel, Planxty, The Bothy Band, and guitar-slinger Richard Thompson. He was formerly a member of the Orange Coast Guitar Ensemble in Southern California concentrating on classical guitar, but it was during this period that his influences branched out, and his curiosity about instruments broadened. "A Jig Monkey in the Northwest" focuses on Celtic instrumentals played on acoustic, classical, and electric guitars, bouzouki, mandolin, flute, pennywhistle, bodhran, melodeon, and electronic bagpipe. Track 9 contains a tune played on his father's one row Hohner melodeon that he bought in Ballina on his last visit to Ireland. "The Crooked Road to Corvallis" is a new jig on guitar, mandolin, and bodhran inspired by his new home in Oregon and his first sight of the winding Willamette River. "The 5" is an original piece about that long drive up to Oregon after 46 years in Southern California. "Lucia" was written for James's wife in the early days of their relationship in Pasadena, California and includes some flamenco sabor. For something a little different, "Daybreak/Nil Se Na La" is played on a Fender Stratocaster with that blast from the past - an e-bow, giving a nod to those who inspired him to originally connect with the guitar. There are also a couple of solo guitar efforts with tunes from Irish composer/harpist Turlough O'Carolan: Planxty Fanny Power and Sheebeag/Sheemore. From Irish to Scottish and from traditional to modern, James's music can appeal to anyone who enjoys a good tune!